I’ve always considered myself a people person, not a techie, and once thought those were mutually exclusive. While I’ve recognized the importance of technology, I never thought I would be one to lead others in that way.
First comes the “Why.” As someone who has been committed to nonprofits and social change for much of my life, I’ve been all too aware of the need to accomplish great things with minimal resources. And technology is one of those levers that, when used, can drastically expand capacity. When I recognized how instrumental a CRM can be in expanding capacity, I became committed to learning the technology.
Then there’s the “How.” The short answer is that it was just a lot of hard work and elbow grease. A great resource that I used to learn the fundamentals of Salesforce and prepare for the exam was Certified on Demand. The other was practice – learning what clients’ needs were and getting into Salesforce to figure out how to address those needs. And then there was creating the curriculum for Bootcamp- there’s nothing like teaching others to force you to learn!
I am proud to say that I am now a Certified Salesforce Administrator (along with two of my colleagues at 501Partners)! It wasn’t the test itself that was the most valuable – it was in building the foundation of knowledge of the all the various parts of Salesforce and how they interact. Now, words like “custom objects,” “workflows,” and “data migration,” don’t scare me anymore. I don’t think anyone, no matter how much they study, can know all there is to know about Salesforce, as it is vast and constantly evolving. However, even the novice CAN learn how to be proficient.
My advice to those of you who don’t consider yourself to be a techie is:
1) You CAN learn Salesforce!
2) Get into it and start using it. If you want to practice without messing up your organization’s instance, create a Sandbox to play in.
3) Find good resources (people, websites, forums) to go to for help. Some great resources that I’ve been getting a lot out of watching Dreamforce breakout sessions, particularly Salesforce Foundation: The Connected Nonprofit, Nonprofit HUB #1 & Nonprofit HUB #2.